|||||Magic Smile by Rosie Vela||]|
Title: Not What You Think
Disclaimer: All characters are fictitious. Really. Any similarity to real people, especially one Mr Colfer, is in your head. OK, and mine.
Summary: Chris is working on his first big Hollywood movie. He wasn't expecting to have so much fun. He wasn't expecting to meet Trip or to fall so hard or to be so anguished and then so in love. He really wasn't expecting the object of his affections to have such a big secret...
Author’s Notes: It’s getting a bit addictive now. So as I’ve written up to Part Ten, I figure I’ll just dump it here for now. The characters have taken on their own narrative now, I’m just the conduit. Oh how pretentious does THAT sound??? I’m just enjoying writing this. One day someone’ll read it.
Chris nodded as Kelly opened the door and they both left in search of coffee. Once the door clicked to again, he turned to glance at Trip in the mirror. The mixture on his hair was darkening as the dye worked and the way it flattened his hair to his head threw his features into relief. The arresting quality of Trip’s face that Chris had noticed when they first met was a combination of strikingly blue eyes and incredibly sculpted, high cheekbones. He had a pixie-like quality to his face which Chris had heard described in his own features but never really accepted. But this was the real deal. His nose was tip-tilted, the jawline soft and the skin almost flawless. He was beautiful.
‘Hey, secret thoughts of switching from acting to hairdressing?’ Trip joked, bringing Chris back into the present with a snap.
‘No, not really. Just had one of those reality-check moments.’ Chris massaged his brow with his hand, rubbing his fingertips into his eyes. This was the turning point, he decided. This was the minute to choose if he maintained the professional front with his stunt double and they spent the next few months exchanging pleasantries and talking takes and angles. Or, whether Chris blew the whole gaffe and told Trip how excited he was about being in a Hollywood movie and how terrified he was that he’d mess up and how fairytale-like it was to have a fucking stunt-double. And how much he wanted to stroke those little hairs at the nape of... Oh no, just stop.
‘Um, Trip...?’ Chris began
‘Uh huh?’ Trip looked at Chris in the mirror. He seemed to need that degree of separation for whatever he was about to say.
‘Uh, you’ve done like, loads of movies, right?’
‘Yeah, a fair number. Why?’ That massive down-scaling again.
‘D’you like, get to know the actors that you’re doubling pretty well?’
‘Sometimes. The really big names tend not to talk to grunts like me. The new ones usually like to talk, share the excitement, ask if they’re doing OK, pick up tips. Y’know...’
Trip saw a look of relief pass over Chris’ face. He’d hit the nail on the head. The kid was in Lala land. He’d taken a bite of the Hollywood lotus and discovered that along with the highs came the constant self-doubt. His heart constricted momentarily and Trip clenched his whole body to stop it.
‘I’m kind of used to a big crowd of actors on set, y’know, always having someone around to talk to, to have fun with. There was always pizza in someone’s trailer and we were just so stupid all the time. This is pretty different. I feel like I have to be all grown up, be a real actor.’ Chris glanced up at Trip in the mirror. Trip had been watching him throughout his little speech.
‘You are a real actor, Chris’
‘Yeah, but d’you know what I mean? I’m this cute character from a TV series that everyone knows and loves, I’m this gay icon, this spokesperson, this role-model for kids and all the time I just feel like this big fraud who fell into this by accident and who just wants to lie around in his bedroom talking about guys...’
‘Yeah, I hear that...’
Both of them looked up at the same moment, as if aware they’d crossed a line. Chris’ eyes widened
‘Yeah, I am.’
Trip cut him off, looking down. He couldn’t believe what he’d just done. In a split second he’d broken about three of his cardinal rules. He’d gotten personal, he’d let someone in and he’d enjoyed it. It was fine to be the actor’s listening ear, fine to give good counsel, to even be an emotional punch-bag when things were going badly. Trip held all kinds of secrets about all kinds of actors, let out in moments of stress or after particularly emotional scenes or personal situations but it was a one-way street. He didn’t reveal anything in return. Ever.
Trip’s heart was racing in the back of his throat. The blood rushed in his ears. Adrenaline flooded his system as it did before a particularly challenging drop or fall but this wasn’t the excitement of performing what he knew he did well. This was fear. And anger at himself. And... something else.
In a moment he had gone from the role of mentor; wise, experienced elder, keeper of secrets to... to what? He glanced up at Chris’ face in the mirror; pale, vulnerable, scared maybe... yes... to that.
‘Would you mind getting me a coffee, Chris?’ Trip reassembled in an instant. Chris wouldn’t have noticed a thing, he was certain. He’d had enough goddamn experience.
‘Oh, sure. How d’you take it?’
Trip threw him a lewd grin, the facade back in place. ‘Strong and black’
Chris glanced at him for a second, making sure the innuendo was entirely intentional and they both laughed.
The ice was broken.